(Adds comment from Freeport official)
JAKARTA Dec 22 Indonesia is considering
allowing miners to negotiate an extension of their operating
permits five years before expiry, rather than two years
currently, the energy and mining minister said on Thursday.
"The negotiation for the extension may not be two years,
perhaps it can be five years before the contracts end," Ignasius
Jonan told reporters. "This will apply for everyone."
Under current regulations, U.S miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc
, whose contract in Indonesia ends in 2021, can only start
negotiating an extension in 2019.
Freeport welcomed the news and will cooperate with the
government, said its Indonesia spokesman, Riza Pratama. The
spokesman said the company could not give more details until the
regulation is implemented.
(Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; Writing by Eveline
Danubrata; Editing by Richard Pullin and Kenneth Maxwell)